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Full Version: We could have cheap housing, but society doesn't want you to have it!
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Dear Van Dwelling Friends,

I was doing some research into investing in mobile home parks so that I can retire early and vandwell or RV when I want to. I came upon this video that really explained the mobile home park business to me. Here it is:

Check around 2:45 where it talks about Epiphany #1. This is what I'm talking about.

Well, one of the big points that the video makes is that zoning for mobile home parks is very, very, very rare. Well, who makes the decisions on zoning? Your local government does. Who supports your local government? Your neighbors do. Mobile homes are affordable housing for the masses. You can get your cost of housing down to about $500 a month for a family. But most towns don't like the look of mobile homes, so they don't ever pass zoning for mobile home parks often.

When I moved into my current city, I looked for mobile home parks for affordable housing. I could not locate that many. Well, I located one that was for 55 and older people. But nothing for my age (35) people. I always wondered why there were not more mobile home parks. I learned about the affordability of mobile homes from the mother of my exwife. She was paying $400 a month to live in a double wide in Montclair, California.

There could be affordable housing for all, but that would look funny. So...due to peer pressure to "look good" and "fit it", that's why we don't have more mobile home parks. So, the people in the towns and cities have bust their tails to rent apartments and buy houses to live in good looking prisons for their entire lives. Great idea!!! (Sarcastic)

There is no affordable housing because they DON'T want you to have it. Why don't they want you to have it? Because it would look weird! I'm not going to be shackled by that kind of thinking! I'm not going to work myself to death just because some group of people decided that they wanted me to work my tail off to buy a house that will take 30 years to pay off!!!

Purportedly, the cavemen and cavewomen only had to "work" 15-20 hours a week. Well...why is that? They didn't have any rent! was not a glamorous life and somethings were terrible back then, but they were not spending their entire life working! The cavemen and cavewomen had it figured out, and they didn't even graduate from high school!

Well, basically....society is not going to change. So, I bought a Roadtrek 200 year 2000. It has been great! I learned a lot about them. I guess it is even better than a mobile home because it is instantly moveable! I'm not going to let a set of zoning laws make me work double time just to afford housing!!! Forget that!!!

Living the 'caveman life' is a study in "feast and famine" - sometimes you eat, often you didn't. As long as we can afford rice and Ramen, no famine! ;-)
I currently 'own' my Doublewide on my own 1/2 Acre of Suburban Hell. All paid off. Never had a mortgage - Dad fronted me the money for it, and I made payments to him on a 'gentlemen's agreement'. When he passed away, I got the money back as my inheritance.
A few years back, a major gas company was looking to run a huge gas pipeline through the area, and tried to strong arm us residents of this mobilehome community out, to use our land. We all got together and threatened legal action (one member was a lawyer), and they backed down. Turned out a large underground pipeline already existed nearby - they built onto it.
Sometimes being a part of a 'community' does help. Had we all been alone we'd have lost our property. We have no stinking HOA though -we live our lives the way we see fit, not bothering other neighbors.
Once I get my van conversion finished, I'll keep this property at least for awhile as a 'homebase' to travel from.


There is a lot of truth in there but it also brings up some other points. One thing that is interesting is the difference between regular parks and 55 parks. If I went out looking for a 55 park it would be because the people that live there take care of their homes. Why are so many mobile home parks so trashed out? Its not the management going around and insisting that people DONT mow their lawns. Its not the management insisting that they DONT fix the storm door that is falling off. Its the people that live there that trash the place. I would bet that there would be far less problem getting them zoned if they didn't give themselves such a bad reputation.

Years back I was looking at a park in a good area and started reading on line reviews. Most of the posts in the review were people complaining that the management was evil because they expected them to mow the lawn and thought the manager was the lawn nut because he kept the entrance area so well cared for. The entrance was very nice but I soon became turned off as I traveled through the park. If people dont want to take care of their property and negatively effect their neighbors, then they do belong in an apartment. The classic example would be some slob with a cigarette in hand complaining about not having any money to fix the storm door or by a lawnmower or the guy that was 4 huge plastic bags full of beer cans laying next to the porch but has no money. Too often people cause their own problems.
There are many, plenty, lots of, pick a description, "mobile and not so mobile" home parks across the country.
Depending on the rules you are willing to live under, there are plenty of parks out there.

My mother had a double wide in The Napa Valley. No street parking longer than 3 hours. No unregistered vehicles, trash bags or stacks of boxes. The management mowed all grass. They got upset when her flower garden became "unsightly" (kill the plant before it goes to seed.)

Here in Missouri, they are regulating out parks that owners have allowed to become slums. People cause their own problems. Some are hoarders that allow things to overflow their personal space. That ruins it for the rest of us.
(07-29-2014, 04:08 AM)Billyidol Wrote: [ -> ]...most towns don't like the look of mobile homes, so they don't ever pass zoning for mobile home parks often...

It's not that the town does not like the look of the mobile homes, its' that the parks get so trashy. Drive through a MH community and take a look. It's not the MHs that looks so bad.

I've seen some very nice MH parks where the management enforces aesthetics rules.

For some reason "affordable" housing areas tend to draw the trash. Makes it bad for those of us who are tidy and take some pride in our homes, whether they be a van or whatever.
In 96' I was in middle school and my family lived in a small town in Iowa. It's a college town. One of best student housing options was a single mobile home park. For $5000-$10,000 you could own your home and only pay $150-200 a month in lot rent. Compare that to the average rent of an on-campus apartment for four years and it was a financial no-brainer.

This park was kept up very well. The manager was very insistent that lawns were mowed and trashy/older homes were removed and new ones installed. Even so, when my family fell on hard times we sold our three-bedroom house and moved into a trailer. I remember feeling so ashamed. I was 14 then and it was my first experience with anything other than the upper-middle-class life I had grown up in.

Now I'm in my 30s and I'm considering mobile home parks again for my RV. Its funny how things change.

Sidenote: When we moved from Ames to another college town in Illinois, we first checked out mobile home parks. There are two here and they are trashy as hell. So it goes to show that mobile home park does not equal trashy, but many of them are, hench the aversion to them.
Donedirtcheap is right. When started to get back on our feet in the Tampa area 20 years ago, we looked at mobile homes. The senior parks were neat and well maintained. The residents paid management to do this with higher monthly fees. But we were a little too young.

Most of the others were trashy, especially where families with kids lived. Junk everywhere, the yards a trampled or overgrown mess, the mobiles falling apart. Nobody wants to live with or next to that. We stayed in a campground a couple more years until we could afford a small house.
The trashy thing pretty much applies to a lot of places in every city large and small. Usually the neighborhoods that are "low/er" rent are slummy for a reason. Cuz the residents for the most part make a mess, simple as that. These same slummy neighborhoods usually have cockroaches everywhere...not to mention crime, drug dealings and the whole 9 yards.
there are some places in rural america where you find them right next to million dollar homes and no one seems to mind. i get a chuckle driving thu wv sometimes.